The Paddy Land-to-Dry Land (PLDL) program, which is a representative example of payment for watershed ecosystem services, has played a critical role in protecting the source of the Beijing Municipality's water supply in the Miyun Reservoir watershed since 2006. Previous studies have evaluated the program's benefits and costs and confirmed its positive impacts. However, local farmers' Willingness to Accept (WTA) for compensation, its impact factors and relevant policies, which are key factors determining its successful implementation, have not been analyzed. In this paper, a hypothesis argues that positive ecological impacts could lead to decreasing WTA values, whereas negative ecological effects could lead to increasing values. The study areas comprised three counties in Hebei Province and one district in Beijing Municipality. A total of 391 randomly selected farmers (with a response rate of 92%) participated in a face-to-face questionnaire-based survey. The contingent valuation method was applied as the main analytical tool for evaluating nonmarket environmental goods or services. Interval regression of the Tobit model was applied to analyze WTA impact factors and was validated using a logit model. The study's findings confirmed the positive effects of the PLDL program, but they did not confirm the lower WTA values that were hypothesized in the study areas. This disparity between the hypothesis and survey results can be explained in three dimensions: environmental, economic, and social. First, environmental awareness had a strong positive correlation with WTA. Respondents who valued environmental protection above economic development required higher compensation. Second, respondents' gender and household's incomes were closely related to their environmental awareness, but were not directly related to the dependent variable of WTA. Third, respondents whose degree of equity relating to the program was lower than that of others required a higher payment. Moreover, an ecological service (ES) provider's age and WTA were negatively related, younger respondents demanded a higher value for payment-related WTA in the study areas. Therefore, policymakers' decisions regarding ecological compensation should evidently take into account WTA impact factors in the PLDL program, especially ES providers' ages, their environmental awareness, and the degree of equity that they have.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 10, 2018
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